Nikon D600 vs Pentax 645D
The Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D600) and a medium format (645D) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 39.5 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645D is notably larger (15 percent) than the Nikon D600. Moreover, the 645D is substantially heavier (74 percent) than the D600. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|2.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|3.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|4.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|6.||Leica S Typ 006||160 mm||120 mm||80 mm||1260 g||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|7.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299|
|8.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|9.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|10.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|11.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|12.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|13.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|14.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|16.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D600 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 79 percent) than the 645D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D600 features a full frame sensor and the Pentax 645D a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645D is 68 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.79. The sensor in the D600 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645D offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 39.5MP, the 645D offers a higher resolution than the D600 (24.2MP), but the 645D nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.06μm versus 5.97μm for the D600) due to its larger sensor. However, the D600 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 6 months) than the 645D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645D has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.3 x 27.2 inches or 92.3 x 69.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.1 x 21.8 inches or 73.8 x 55.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.2 x 18.1 inches or 61.5 x 46.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D600 are 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm for good quality, 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm for very good quality, and 20.1 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D600 provides substantially higher image quality than the 645D, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|2.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|3.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|4.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|6.||Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|7.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|12.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|13.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|14.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|15.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|16.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D600 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 645D does not. The highest resolution format that the D600 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D600 and the 645D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D600 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 645D (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 645D has a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D600, the Pentax 645D, and comparable cameras.
|4.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|6.||Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D600 has one, while the 645D does not. While the built-in flash of the D600 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D600 and the 645D write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The D600 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 645D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D600 and Pentax 645D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645D (unlike the D600) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D600 and the 645D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 645D was replaced by the Pentax 645Z, while the D600 was followed by the Nikon D610. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D600:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (141x113mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 630g or 43 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (900 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (79 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 645D launch.
Reasons to prefer the Pentax 645D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (39.5 vs 24.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.70x).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2010).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D600 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D600 and the Pentax 645D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D600 and the 645D in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|2.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|3.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|4.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|6.||Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|7.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299|
|8.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|9.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|10.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|11.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|12.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|13.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|14.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D800E||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|16.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|17.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D600 vs Pentax 645D
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||March 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 2,099||USD 9,995|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||44.0 x 33.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||1452 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||55 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.2 Megapixels||39.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4016 pixels||7264 x 5440 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||6.06 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||2.72 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||PRIME II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||94||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.2||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2980||1262|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.5 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D600||Pentax 645D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
156 x 117 x 119 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||1480 g (52.2 oz)|
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